"The Eclipse" DVD Review

7/10/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Eclipse"

DVD Review

By our guest blogger, Anthony Crabtree

A film that escaped a number of people when it was in theaters, "The Eclipse," directed by Conor McPherson, is certainly one of the quickest and best ghost films in recent memory.

Running at just 88 minutes, the film opens in Ireland with widowed husband Michael Farr (Ciaran Hinds) taking care of his two children by himself. He remains haunted both literally and figuratively by the death of his wife. While this is not an incredibly original plot, McPherson's writing and direction keep the film from becoming a blase ghost yarn.

This can be credited to the fact that McPherson focuses more than half the film on strictly horror and scares.

Quickly after the opening credits, the film jumps into the frightening aspects of this story--no more than 10 minutes into the film ghostly events begin occurring in Michael's life. This briskly paced introduction sets the mood for the entire film and never lets down with scare after scare.

"The Eclipse's" greatest achievement--and what is actually missing from most contemporary horror films--is that the scares are actually effective. Scenes which involve ghastly aspects cannot be predicted, and throughout these scenes, the camera remains unflinching. No obvious musical cues exist to tell when something terrifying will happen. Scenes of shock genuinely come as a surprise, and it happens not just once, but throughout the film, creating a feeling of unease.

Between these moments of horror, a plot does exist. As a ghost story, McPherson presents ideas that all of these characters are haunted by something from their past, and McPherson presents these ideas in an unsubtle manner to the audience.  These moments do not have nearly as much weight as McPherson probably was hoping for--they are not necessarily bad, but they do not provide nearly as much insight or depth into the ideas of loss and death that McPherson may have intended. Ultimately, these minor complaints about the story can be overlooked as McPherson writes two solid lead characters who are realistic and genuinely likeable to keep the audience invested in what is happening.

Hinds and Hjele perform well in their roles with an honesty and seriousness that make ghosts seem as if they actually could  exist. Aidan Quinn appears in a supporting role as an American author who is loud, ignorant and unhappy, and he plays the role as such. Sometimes, Quinn goes slightly overboard with his performance and his character feels forced, but it is a small role and there was definitely room for him to play around with it.

Despite a story and plot that sound ordinary, Conor McPherson creates a ghost tale that is well worth watching. Though his writing does come off as a bit heavy handed at times, it is still well worth viewing because of the performances and genuinely terrifying moments. As a horror fan, it is not often that I find a film that actually got my heart racing as this film did. It was a shame that "The Eclipse" received such little recognition when it was released theatrically. It is a film that many will like and certainly deserves an audience.

Grade: B

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  1. Anonymous said...

    I'm glad to see new blood among the Week in Rewind staff. Please post more, Anthony!